Sample Retirement Speech

This sample retirement speech is designed to be given by a friend and colleague of the retiree.

Although this particular speech is geared towards a teacher, you could easily rework it to make it suitable for anyone retiring, whether a CEO, waitress or mailman!

This sample retirement speech makes good use of story-telling and special memories. There are some touching moments, some humor as well as a great quote at the end of the speech that touches on how the speaker feels about the person.

Check out this free retirement speech if you’re looking for a speech that is given by someone who is themselves retiring, rather than by a friend or colleague of the retiree.

Beginning of Sample Retirement Speech

We’re here today to show our respect and love for Flagstaff Elementary School’s own Whitney Jean Paul.

Like Moses
who spent 40 years leading his people to the promised land, Whitney has spent exactly that long leading students during her accomplished tenure with us. She has touched all of our lives during this time, and we are sad to see her go.

Everyone in this room knows that you don’t go into teaching to make a lot of money – people become teachers to make a difference to the students that are in their class, to teach them that they can accomplish their goals and become whoever they want to be in this world.

At times, for Whitney, making a difference also meant teaching her students how to work together in a group or – yes – even about the importance of not sticking erasers in your nose or ears!

Whitney showed that you can make a difference in a student’s life by the day to day things you do for them. Those small things work together to make a big difference in the lives of others.

Sometimes the hardest part about teaching is just getting the students involved and interested in learning. Whitney Jean never had that problem. Even when you would pass her room during pre-planning you would know the students were going to be engaged.

I remember the first time I went to visit her the day before school started one year. Her whole room was decorated in a football theme. Watching her set up team areas, score boards, and decorations made me wish I was going to be in her class!

Whitney took advantage of every spare minute she had to teach her students. Sometimes when teachers walk students down the hall to the restroom or a resource class, they take the opportunity to catch a quick breath and take a break themselves.

Not Ms. Paul! I’m sure you have seen her passing out multiplication flash cards to students in line for the restroom. Who can forget her marching down the hall chanting, “right, acute, obtuse!” as she and the students formed the angles with their arms.

Whitney was always available to help her students be successful. Even at the end of a long day, she would volunteer her time to stay after school to meet with small groups of students who needed extra help.

Whitney has been an amazing teacher, but she is also a great colleague and friend. If you were ever at school late and needed someone to help you brainstorm teaching ideas, Whitney was there.

She has been our “go-to” person when we have had questions or needed ideas. Heck, after 40 years of teaching you better have some knowledge to share!

When I think of Whitney Jean Paul I’m reminded of the following quotation by John Steinbeck. “I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist, and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”

Ms. Paul, you are one of the great artists of the teaching profession. You have made a lasting impression on the world through the lives of the students you have taught. Thank you and happy retirement!


End of Sample Retirement Speech

Speaking at a person’s retirement party is not always an easy thing to do as emotions often run high. It is a great honor to give tribute to someone you have worked with, often for many years, as he or she can feel more like a family member than a work-mate. Hopefully this sample retirement speech has helped you in some small way to put your feelings towards the retiree into just the right words!



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